This decade has seen Jim Henson’s lovable Muppets return to the forefront of pop culture thanks to two big screen projects (The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted). However, longtime fans of Kermit and the gang know that television is where their home really is. From 1976 to 1981, The Muppet Show was on the air, entertaining viewers of all ages with wacky comedy sketches, musical numbers, and touching moments of sentimentality – earning them generations of admirers.
Arguably, the Muppets format works better in the realm of a TV variety show than a feature length film, which is why some have been hoping for a Muppet Show reboot ever since Disney acquired the property. Last month, we got word that a new Muppets TV series was in development, and now it has officially been green lit by ABC.
EW broke the news, saying that the puppets will be making their return to prime time network TV in the form of a documentary-style show that will explore the personal lives and relationships of the group (something we’ve heard before). The show will cover everything from how the Muppets interact in the work place to their most personal wants and desires. EW describes it as “a more adult Muppet show” that still maintains its family-friendly tone.
The outlet also revealed the first official image of the new series, featuring Kermit and Gonzo. Check out the picture below:
Some may balk at the notion of the Muppets becoming “more adult”, but it doesn’t sound like executive producers Bill Prady and Bob Kushell are going to be going too off-key with their show. Part of what has helped The Muppets endure for so long is its cross-generational appeal; for every insane Gonzo stunt, there was a riff on pop culture that only older viewers would get. Ideally, the mockumentary angle will operate as a good-natured parody of shows like Entertainment Tonight and be something fresh when compared to the old format from the first iteration.
Other details about the series are scarce at this point in time, but the show already seems like a winner for the network. A couple of weeks ago, the pilot was screened for ABC executives and received a standing ovation when it concluded. While it remains to be seen what the general public thinks of it, that is a strong sign of its potential quality – illustrating that even the stuffy studio suits can have their hearts melted by a singing frog and his friends.
It also remains to be seen if there will be any human guest stars making appearances on the show as well – but considering the franchise’s history, we’d say it’s all but a given some celebrity cameos will be in order. There are plenty of talented performers that would be an excellent fit for the Muppets’ brand of comedy (check out our list here), so it will be interesting to see who gets called upon to tell jokes with Fozzie or pine for Miss Piggy.
Regardless, it’s an exciting time to be a Muppet fan. After last year’s Muppets Most Wanted was considered a box office disappointment (and reviewed less favorably than its predecessor), that gang is going back to where they belong. Hopefully this project will have a similar result to what Jason Segel did for them with the 2011 film and reignite mainstream interest in the most sensational and celebrational entertainers around.
We’ll keep you updated on the Muppets TV series as more information becomes available.